When BobLilly¬†was named a Kodak All-America defensive tackle at TCU in 1960, theaward came with a 35mm camera and 200 rolls of film. So turns a life. The kidwho grew up in the West Texas town of Throckmorton had never even taken apicture before. "That was the first camera I owned," he says. Afterbecoming the Cowboys' inaugural draft pick in 1961, he dived into photography,frequenting camera stores and building his own makeshift darkroom. Soon,influenced by the work of Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, his focus turned tolandscapes, and during his off-seasons he began taking lengthy excursionsacross the western U.S.
Lilly, who retiredin '75 after a Hall of Fame career, began selling prints in the late '70s(Reflections, a collection of his work, sold 50,000 copies). Today Lilly, 67,offers prints through boblilly.com and at charity auctions. And the man knownas Mr. Cowboy is still shooting: This summer he'll set out from Oregon, crossthe Cascades and the Badlands, and then head down into the Plains states.
To Lilly, therhythms of outdoor photography mirror those of his lifelong hobby, hunting: getup early, find the ideal spot and wait for the perfect moment--in photography,when the light is just right. "You have to be there," he says, "andbe ready."
For his own portrait, Lilly took advantage of the light and scenery of the landhe knows best.